Centre, Twitter India get SC notice on plea seeking mechanism to regulate content spreading hate


Advocate Ashwini Dubey, appearing for Mr. Goenka, said directions are needed for establishing a mechanism to regulate hateful content on the social networking site.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre and Twitter India on a plea seeking a mechanism for regulating content and advertisements spreading hatred through fake news and instigative messages via bogus accounts.

Also Read | Indian laws must be followed: Government to Twitter

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Centre and Twitter Communication India Pvt Ltd on the plea filed by one Vinit Goenka, which said there are hundreds of fake Twitter handles and bogus Facebook accounts in the name of eminent people and high dignitaries.

Advocate Ashwini Dubey, appearing for Mr. Goenka, said directions are needed for establishing a mechanism to regulate hateful content on the social networking site.

The bench said that it is issuing notice in the matter and tagging the plea with other pending matters.

The plea filed through Mr. Dubey said, “These fake Twitter handles and Facebook accounts use real photo of constitutional authorities and eminent citizens. Therefore, common man relies upon the messages published from these Twitter handles and Facebook accounts.” The PIL said that fake news is the root cause of many riots, including the one in Delhi earlier this year, and bogus accounts are used to promote casteism and communalism which endangers fraternity and unity of the country.

Explained | Why has the Centre issued a notice to Twitter, and what are the laws governing the cyber world?

“It is submitted that presently total number of Twitter handles in India is around 35 million and total number of Facebook accounts is 350 million and experts says that around 10 % Twitter handles (3.5 million) and 10 % Facebook accounts (35 million) are duplicate/bogus/fake,” the plea said.

Political parties use fake social media accounts for self-promotion and image building and to tarnish the image of opponents and contesting candidates, especially during the elections, the plea submitted.

The plea has also sought directions to make a law as per which an action can be initiated against Twitter and their representatives in India for willfully abetting and promoting anti India tweets and penalize them.

Also Read | The Indian Twitter rival staging a Koo

The petition further said that a representation to the authority concerned to act in accordance with the law of the country against social media giant Twitter was filed but no action has been taken so far by authorities concerned.

It also pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs has banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) under the Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act on July 10, 2019, yet it continues to have an active presence on Twitter and allegedly espouses hatred, terrorism and sedition, criminal acts.

“The logic and algorithms that Twitter uses should be shared and vetted by Indian government authorities or competent authority for screening anti-India tweets… KYC of all social media handles in India must be conducted for making social media safe and accountable and traceable,” the plea said.

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